INEOS has accused Derbyshire councillors of a “confused” decision based on politics not science after they opposed the company’s plans for a shale gas well.
The county council’s planning committee voted on Monday by nine to one against the proposal for a vertical exploration well in the village of Marsh Lane. (DrillOrDrop live updates from the meeting)
Planning officers said there were no grounds to oppose the application. But the committee, local councillors, residents and campaign groups raised a wide range of concerns.
INEOS was criticised for not participating in the meeting. The company did not respond immediately to the vote but issued a statement this afternoon. INEOS Derbyshire press release 070218 (pdf)
Chief executive, Ron Coyle, described the vote as “a bad decision”. The development of a shale gas industry would, he said, “lead to an economic renaissance” with what he called “high paying, highly skilled jobs and massive investment in manufacturing”.
“Decision led by politics”
Mr Coyle said:
“The decision exposes the Council and Council taxpayers to costly appeal proceedings – all because the decision has been led by politics and not science and has confused a request to drill a simple core bore well with other activities that may not may not happen in the future.”
Monday’s meeting was not to approve or refuse the application but to decide the council’s position at a public inquiry on the scheme. INEOS had already appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. It said it was not prepared to give Derbyshire more time to decide the application.
Whatever the committee’s vote, there would still have been a public inquiry, due to open on 19 June.
Had the councillors followed the advice of officers, Derbyshire’s role at the inquiry would have been limited to a hearing about conditions. But following the vote, Derbyshire will now formally object to the scheme because of its likely impact on the green belt, local roads and the level of noise at nearby homes.
The decision was made across parties, with five of the six Conservatives and all four Labour members voting against the scheme.
“Simple core bore well”
In its statement, INEOS said:
“We understand that decisions on hydraulic fracturing can be contentious and difficult politically for local Councils, but this is not a decision about unconventional gas production.
“This is a straightforward decision to allow the drilling of a single vertical core bore well to gain scientific knowledge of what is below the surface, which has been agreed by many councils many times in the past.
“The fact that it may help to make decisions about potential unconventional gas extraction sometime in the future should not change the fact that this was an application for a simple core bore well, and no more.”
Friends of the Earth had sent legal advice to the committee that there were material planning reasons to oppose the application. The local Conservative MP, Lee Rowley, told the committee the scheme contravened 22 different planning policies.
Although the INEOS application was for exploration, not production, Mr Coyle said in his statement that shale gas was a resource of strategic importance to the UK and issues of energy security “always have to be factored in”.
“Whatever the outcome of a decision for a coring well, we will continue to talk with local communities about unconventional gas production with the message that should any further development of this site be appropriate, it will represent not only the right project in the right location but would also represent the beginning of a major industrial boon for the Midlands area that would create jobs, growth and investment on top of the energy security and lower costs it would bring.”
The Marsh Lane application site is in the exploration licence area, PEDL300, awarded to INEOS in July 2016. Under a commitment to the Oil and Gas Authority, the company has until 2021 to drill a well to a depth of 4,500m and drill and frack a horizontal well.
Mr Coyle said in his statement:
“It is also worth noting that INEOS Shale made this application to gather scientific data as part of its commitment to the Oil & Gas Authority to develop its license areas.”
But there are questions over whether the Marsh Lane well would have satisfied the PEDL300 commitments because it was proposed as a vertical well to a depth of only 2,400m with no fracking.
I wish I had a shop that sold soothers, I’d be rich by now 😉
…but then I would have to insist they were recyclable and donate all my profits to the NHS…
I don’t know why but that photo makes me think that Mr Coyle might not be English. Am I wrong? It makes me think of Atlanta.
I don’t think the council were confused they knew exactly what they were doing, choosing material planning objections to state why they do not support the application and to send a clear message to Ineos, that they are not wanted. And whilst Ineos may enjoy the support of a weak minority government, they should have a care because it is political support that has got the industry where it is to date. But it is the people that elect politicians to represent them and quite clearly the people do not want fracking and increasingly neither do the politicians.
Well said KatT. Ron Coyle appears to lack the intelligence to see that his & Ineos’ [edited by moderator] are laughably transparent. And as for calling the CC’s “a bad decision” – well they would say that, wouldn’t they!
Thanks Ruth for this report. Apologies for extracting these quotes from the text report above, but there is something that needs highlighting.
So Ineos object? One might say that is to be expected? One might also say “so what?”
“The Marsh Lane application site is in the exploration licence area, PEDL300, awarded to INEOS in July 2016. Under a commitment to the Oil and Gas Authority, the company has until 2021 to drill a well to a depth of 4,500m and drill and frack a horizontal well.”
“But there are questions over whether the Marsh Lane well would have satisfied the PEDL300 commitments because it was proposed as a vertical well to a depth of only 2,400m with no fracking.”
These two paragraphs indicate the contradiction in requirement for ostensibly exploration, but then the requirement for drilling to 4500m at least once in every well-pad.
The result of this is that it illustrates the very reason that Ineos, and indeed all the other operators cannot be trusted to tell the truth.
That 4500m deep requirement stands regardless of any other consideration and there is no specific requirement to frack in that deep well.
That explains why sites that have not carried out that obligation, are not given up and reinstated. The requirement is still outstanding and will be required to be drilled regardless of whether any bore is fracked or not, or indeed any other terminological avoidance of the word?
That shows the real reason for the licences is a network of deep wells across the entire country. You may well…..ask why? What conditions and requirements would suit 4500m deep wells?
It is not hard to look up the depths required to dispose of high Level nuclear waste, and also the infrastructure act which allows any operator to dump anything, highly toxic or not beneath our feet?
There perhaps we begin to see just how much deception is in built into these well pad sites, and why the operators have irate fits of indignation and anger when they are found out and refused?
It is because the 4500m deep well condition stands regardless of anything else.
You certainly seem to have a weird prejudice against where people live, or have lived refracktion!
There are plenty of workshops to help you embrace the diversity of the human race. Opening your mind may give you a whole new lease of life.
Not at all Martyn I just find it amusing that we get so much b/s about local jobs when all they guys they use seem to come from all over the globe. It’s quite entertaining really.
Sir, this is an international business. I am British but I work around the world on gas projects. How can I ply my trade in my own back yard when you won’t even allow potential projects to gather the geological evidence required to even decide whether a future project is even viable or not? Regarding local jobs, Mr Coyle is correct. Evidence around the world is that when plentiful, secure, economic feedstocks are available, investment in downstream industries always follows. Economic growth ensures local economies are boosted and both direct and indirect employment opportunities flow. This is fact. There is no doubt at all about this. The reverse is also true. Where the feedstocks are no longer present, industry closes and local economies are decimated. This is true in the UK where in my career around 90% of my industry has closed.
I am Martian, I am 374 Mars years old, actually that is about 12 in Earth years, and i live on a devastated planet where the ecology was destroyed by fracking millions of years ago, the skeletons here are hundreds of Mars metres deep, some of them are gold plated.
I work in the terraforming industry, making Mars environment similar to Terra, meaning like the Earths environment and ecology.
The trouble is that just as fast as we are returning Mars environment back to a remotely liveable planet where life can begin to survive outside of the underground shielded chambers.
The mad governments and corporations on Terra, Earth, are rapidly destroying the Earths environment using the same insane industrial devastation that killed all life above ground on Mars millions of years ago.
We are in severe danger of passing each other in environmental terms and going in the opposite directions, we are beginning to get some breathable atmosphere back whilst the Earth is simultaneously destroying theirs?
That is incredibly frustrating, so much so that we are beginning to think that we are going to rename “terraforming” to Marsforming”and to offer our expertise and services to the true people of Earth in order to begin to repair some of the damage that ecological insanity has destroyed there?
My suggestion, is that the true residents of Earth kick out all those despoilers and desecrators of that still Blue Planet before it turns red, like here, and then send the most promising of them here, i understand that may be a tall order, since promising and frackers are a contradiction in terms?
Here on the Red Planet, that we hope at some time in the future to turn blue, they can experience first hand the results of their insane ecological and environment greed and avarice.
Here we will re-educate them. A few hours on the surface without a survival suit usually does the trick quite rapidly and the threat of a return trip usually keeps them on their toes?
So, we will be waiting for your reply, we do wish you all well, and just in case you were wondering, yes, we do indeed have tripod war machines to assist you in removing your most recalcitrant dictatorships, but most of them we turned into much more useful combine harvesters.
Oh, by the way, we have cured the common cold, and banned money, both being auto destructive, so this time, we can walk about on Earth without suffering from, what we call “the last big sneeze”
Have fun, and don’t cock it up.
Ooohlaaaaa! (that means, “have a nice day, or else!”)
Hell, you’re a Martian too; how many more of us are there?
I think maybe just about enough of us in every generation to counter that old 4th enemy: “The Big Stupid” that will devastate the Earth like it did on Mars all that time ago?
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!
Have a great Sunday with family and friends!
Thank you PhilC, enlightening indeed.
Great points Phil C , I find it a little strange that Ineos say that the decision is Political and not based on science when ultimately the Government can overrule any decision made whether based on science or not . If that’s not political then what is?
Interesting Ryor and Jono, isnt it? For a long while i could see no logical reason for locating the proposed wells in such remote and rural areas? The roads were too narrow, the sites were often in ancient unspoilt areas that were mainly through routes and peaceful tourist areas. Also why sites that had not actually fracked at all still remain intact and not returned and reinstated?
That, combined with the licensing conditions of the deep wells at each well pad, and the apparently concerted and secretive combined government and operator licence efforts to allow these sites to be located without any genuine identifiable strategy or indeed any reason for such locations at all, when far better sites must abound?
And then of course we get this apparently financially suicidal position where the actual declared reason for these sites, oil and gas extraction never seems to be actually taking place, and when it would be better to pull up anchors and go somewhere else, they just hang on and on and on? it makes no logical sense unless there is another agenda, or agendas, going on that are so secretive, that the actual issue cannot be admitted to for fear of the reasons becoming known?
It just did not make any logical, or financial sense did it? And still doesn’t without other reasons for the whole operation?
Then of course the plans and requirement for the dumping of nuclear waste in deep boreholes emerged into the light of day.
I must admit i wasn’t at all sure at first, it seemed too outrageous,and i am sure that the declared reason for these sites, oil and gas exploration and extraction, is at least one of the reasons for these sites locations and spread across the country. But, it seems that there are perhaps more imperative operational reasons and certainly better financial reasons for the locations and the spread? Why is that?
Well, it seems that if such dumping of high level nuclear waste in one location, or a few concentrated known locations, that the resulting harmful health impacts are long term and severe, cancer and radiation poisoning symptoms appear on and surrounding such concentrated dumping of high level nuclear waste.
But if the sites are spread across the entire country and specifically locate them in places that people do not live in great numbers, incidentally does anyone actually wonder why fracking sites are not located in or near to large population centres at all? That reduces the concentration of symptoms and could be blamed on all sorts of things?
The shale conditions in or near to population centres must be as suitable for fracking as in out of the way rural locations?
But that does not happen does it? Because that would highlight the cause of significant concentration points of related health issues and would indicate that a concentration of such materials are nearby. It would not take long to join the dots would it?
So its a matter of joining the dots isn’t it? i wonder what the financial reward is for a series of deep bore holes sufficient for such purposes? That perhaps goes to show why such sites are located where they are, and why they never get returned to their natural state and reinstated, they are too valuable for other agendas.
Perhaps someone thought it would be a good idea to put the Wells in the places where they think the oil and gas is. I would have preferred my local ststion to be at the end of the road but some fool decided it was better to put it next to the railway line
Interesting hypothesis (deep burial holes for nuclear waste) but whether true or not the staight drills serve the purpose of gathering core samples to be sent off for analysis PhilC before any – more complicated/expensive – horizontal drilling would be considered. I’m not making that up its just what they do.
I have no doubt the are other interpretations Philip P, and i am sure there will be, rational or not.
But to say it is simply straight drills for gathering core samples does not explain the requirement for 4500m deep boreholes quite specifically by 2021? Nor the clause in the infrastructure act that allows for anything to be placed beneath our feet without notification or approval? Nor the plans for dumping high level nuclear waste in deep boreholes, and the fact that there are reasons why sites are held onto rather than released and reinstated. Nor the ridiculously remote locations away from population centres and with totally inadequate, laughably so, road access, and the spread of the licences away from built up areas, and the apparent total operational immunity to all financial responsibility and planning and EA and OGA private company regulatory conditions, There is also the apparent and significant favouritsm of dodgy and poorly propped up tin pot private companies that would normally get the fast track posterior rush out of every parliamentary lobby in the entire government. But instead they get almost immune free reign to overturn everything including democracy itself, all are significant of something else being required?
All those are significant don’t you think? In isolation, maybe not, but together?
The disposal of high level nuclear waste just happens to fit the bill perfectly, remember that has all ready been attempted once and refused, do you think there will not be more attempts? If so, where, and by what method? Perhaps the deep bore drills are to test the conditions at such depths for disposal? Can you think of another explanation that fits the pattern?
Besides, its always worth expanding the discussion out of the usual boring personal “i said you said” anti anti favourite diversionary personal attack subject matter we are getting at the moment isn’t it?
I have always said there is more going on here than we are allowed to know, but inevitably as a pattern emerges, there are really very few logical explanations for all these anomalies aren’t there?
Perhaps tell me if you have a better explanation for all of these obvious anomalies?
I didn’t think they had filled up all the old coal mine workings yet, or the salt mines. What have they been up to? All those caverns under the ground that have not been utilised. Probably saving them for our gold reserves in case of conflict. Oh, I forgot the last Labour Government found a different solution.
Yes, refracktion, it would be quite “amusing” if the guy was from USA. Really strange to utilise someone from a country with the greatest expertise, or connections, with respect to fracking. Really quite strange for a global company to conduct their business in such a way-not.
Maybe, when a number of wells have been completed in UK, we might export a few of our own “experts”.
Here is why it was a good decision and not a bad one – except the Planning Committee did not use this analysis, although a Conservative Councillor did see the significance of the issue –